Cutworms?

vfem

Garden Addicted
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
7,516
Reaction score
12
Points
242
Location
Fuquay, NC
So I lost a tomato plant to an evil mole I'm at war with... so far, I'm losing!

So then today I go out (and almost twist my ankle in a mole hole that caved it when I stepped on it because it was all pure mud), and I find a broken tomato plant snapped off at the base. It looks like a clean cut. No chew marks, and no sign of foul (or fowl) play. After looking up things about cut worms I found images of the things munching on the plant stem or leaves after its brought it down. I don't see that, nor any holes anywhere near the plant suggesting it came out of the ground?

Is it possible the thing cut the plant, didn't actually want to eat any of it, and left?

Its been very windy today though, so its possible it snapped from the harsh winds cutting through. I have it in a cage, but not tied down to anything.

What do you think? I have no had any cutworm issues before. If it is possible, I want to get some toilet paper tubes or plastic cups out around my plants, ASAP!
 

bid

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
548
Reaction score
2
Points
151
It could be vfem. I have had it happen on occasion. I dig around a bit with a 3 prong cultivator and sometimes will find the guilty party. One trick I have used in the past was to just put 3 or 4 small twigs around the stem of the plants after I transplant. Same principle as a straw or tube, just easier as you just find a suitable deadfall twig and stick it around the plant so the cutworm can't wrap around it.
 

majorcatfish

Garden Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
6,358
Reaction score
9,661
Points
337
Location
north carolina
had problems years ago with gophers bought some gopher smoke bombs they worked...
the gentleman up the street swears by catching a black snake and putting down one of the gopher holes, he says the smell of the snake drives the gopher away, weather it works or not. but it does make sense.

as for your tomato plant sounds like the wind got it, we have never had a problem either with cutworms , still put down sevin dust as a added measure in the spring.
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
6,708
Reaction score
5,376
Points
377
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
To me it sounds like a cutworm. I lost a basil and a tomato to cutworms so far this year. The basil one was hard to find. The wind was blowing out of the south. The basil top was maybe 6" south of the stem. The cutworm was about 8" north of the stem.

I don't see any holes where they go into the ground. I just carefully dig all around until I find it or give up. They are usually in the top 2" or 3" somewhere around. Usually.

While clearing the green stuff off the rest of my garden I'm finding a log of grubs this year, more than normal. I keep them in a yogurt cup for the chickens. I also found a lot of cutworms chewing on the roots of the grass and weeds. I lost count, probably 8 or 9 just yesterday. Those I kill immediately.
 

so lucky

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 5, 2011
Messages
8,125
Reaction score
4,505
Points
377
Location
SE Missouri, Zone 6
You know, I have been finding a lot of cut worms, and I didn't even make the connection that they are cutworms. I have been just squashing them when I find them. There are a lot of white grubs this year, too. I can dig out one little weed in the garden and it has 3 or 4 grubs in the root tangle and dirt.
I need to get out there and put some sticks down around the tomatoes I transplanted today. We're supposed to get three days of rain now. :(
 

baymule

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
13,471
Reaction score
15,738
Points
417
Location
Northeast Texas
You can use toothpicks next to the plants to deter cutworms. They come in a neat box, are cheap and there are lots of them in the box! :lol:
 

vfem

Garden Addicted
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
7,516
Reaction score
12
Points
242
Location
Fuquay, NC
OK, tooth picks I have BOXES of. So I'll try those for now.

I always find TONS of grubs when we till, as I dug, mounded and planted a month or so later... not so many white grubs, but LOTS of worms. I mean seriously, I put the shovel in the ground to dig a hole to transplant and 4-5 worms fall off the shovel. I've never seen worms like this before in our beds. That explains the increase in moles this year.

After the coyote attack on the ducks last year, I have my survivor and new ducks penned rather then free ranging. They used to do a GREAT job of grub and bug control in the yard. I've seen a significant reduction in japanese beetles over the years. Maybe its time I release the ducks again?! Hubby says no, but they were so useful before, and it keep feed costs down as well.

Ok, off to try the tooth picks around my remaining tomatoes. I guess I should do the cukes and melons too?
 

vfem

Garden Addicted
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
7,516
Reaction score
12
Points
242
Location
Fuquay, NC
Now I am thinking cutworm, I went out and found a second Park's whopper tomato plant broken at the same exact point as the other one I found right next to it. I applied 5-6 toothpicks into the ground around my remaining tomatoes.

UGH!
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
6,708
Reaction score
5,376
Points
377
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
Your post made me go look. I've never tried it but maybe it would work.

Like all caterpillars, cutworms are killed by a particular strain of the bacteria Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Make a cutworm bait by mixing Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki with moist bran and molasses. Spread the bait over the soil surface in your garden

http://www.gardeners.com/Cutworm/5310,default,pg.html

There will be a special spelling test for you next week. Study!
 

Latest posts

Top